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Belles defeat Olviet, Hope in tournament

Justin Stetz | Monday, September 27, 2004

Saint Mary’s finally had something to smile about on Saturday. At the Hope College Triangular the Belles came out with a pair of conference victories over Hope College and Olivet College.

The wins improve the Belles’ record to 3-5 in the MIAA, placing them only one game behind Hope College for sixth place. The team is only 3-8 on the year, but put themselves right back in the hunt in the league.

“We always knew we could do it,” senior Michelle Gary said. “Hope is a huge rival for us and always has been. There have been other things outside the matches that have affected us and I think we were able to finally get passed that.”

In the first match against the Flying Dutchman, the Belles won in five tight games. They came out of the gates strong to capture the first two contests by scores of 32-30 and 30-24. However, things got a little tense as Hope evened the score with two wins of its own. But in the fifth and final game, Saint Mary’s was able to seal the victory with a 15-12 win.

Michelle Turley and Shelly Bender led the charge with 15 and 12 kills apiece respectively, while Anne Stephanie Bauer collected 19 digs. Amada David had 16 digs of her own.

Another key statistic in the match was the team’s ability to block. Behind a strong defensive showing, Saint Mary’s had 13.5 blocks in the contest.

“The biggest change was our net defense,” Gary said. “Great blocking gives our team energy and the back row played well when we needed it.”

The second match against Olivet proved to be an easier victory for the Belles as they rolled over the Comets in three straight games.

Saint Mary’s won the first game by a score of 30-25, and from there things only got better. They held Olivet to 21 points in game two and punished the Comets in the final game by holding them to only 13 points.

The offense was powered by a strong overall performance from the entire team, as a variety of players contributed to the victory. On defense, Gary and Anne Cusack played very well and supplied the majority of the digs.

Saint Mary’s will have time to polish up its game this week. The Belles are idle until Saturday when they return to their home floor against Albion College at 11 a.m.